Sights and sounds of Ax Handle Saturday etched in witness’s mind
This photograph provided by Alton Yates shows a mob of men, some wielding ax handles and other implements against peaceful protesters, on Ax Handle Saturday. “Not a single member of one group came into contact with a single member of the opposite group,” he said. But national publication LIFE magazine had already published proof of the violence that happened on the day that came to be known as Ax Handle Saturday: a photo of Charlie Griffin in a bloodied shirt with a gash above his eye. In 1960, the mayor told one story of Ax Handle Saturday. February is Black History Month, and News4Jax is celebrating Black culture by highlighting stories in the community.
Survivor relives violence from Ax Handle Saturday
One of the worst days he can recall was Aug. 27, 1960, a day we know as Ax Handle Saturday. So thats what prompted me to join the NAACP Youth Council.At the age of 23, Yates joined the NAACP Youth Council and then became its vice president. This photograph provided by Yates shows a mob of men, some wielding ax handles and other implements against peaceful protesters, on Ax Handle Saturday. After we had been seated for a few minutes, evidently one of them had spotted us and he yelled to the group and a large group of them came charging into the store, Yates recalled. These days, when Yates reflects on his time as a peaceful protester, he fondly remembers the time he spent serving the NAACP Youth Council.
Witness: Lot of progress since Ax Handle Saturday
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. It has been 60 years since the brutal display of violence now known as Ax Handle Saturday unfolded in downtown Jacksonville. And they came in with their baseball bats and ax handles and they started beating on us. He said officials began desegregating public schools in the early 60s, which included Ribault and Raines high schools in Northwest Jacksonville. Ribault High and Ribault Junior High those schools were built for the white kids who lived in the Lake Forest-Ribault neighborhood where I lived, he said. Finally by 1963, you had a situation where about 13 students, African American students, were integrated into five white schools, Lisska told News4Jax, noting that other civil rights issues came to light in the 60s.